Social and emotional regulation is a crucial step in development. Teaching and practising self-regulation with your child can help them get through challenging situations and learn techniques for self-control, self-soothing and calming. It can also help them develop skills that aid in addressing situations that can invoke anxiety and stress. Read on to find out which tools can assist with social emotional learning, how to improve social awareness, and the importance of emotional regulation.
What is social & emotional regulation?
According to BeYou, “when children and young people learn to self-manage their emotions, they feel more confident, capable and in control. They have stronger relationships, are more able to pay attention, learn new things, and cope better with daily life’s normal stresses and disappointments.”
If a child has poor social and emotional regulation skills, they may react by throwing tantrums, acting inappropriately, crying or screaming or shouting. This can cause issues at home, school and in social settings. Teaching self-regulation skills and techniques with aid in easing their way and thriving in a complex world.
Why is social & emotional regulation so important?
Embracing social and emotional regulation will help your child learn the skills and competencies to manage their behaviour, relationships, and emotions.
Social and emotional learning involves your child having opportunities to practice critical social skills like:
- Being resilient
- Making friends
- Managing conflict
- Recognising and managing their feelings.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has identified five key areas that encompass social emotional learning. They include:
- Relationship skills: Learning about cooperation and working with others will help your child establish and maintain rewarding and healthy relationships.
- Responsible decision-making: When your child understands social norms, ethical standards, and safety concerns, they make positive decisions instead of negative ones.
- Self-awareness: When your child identifies and recognises their emotions, they develop self-confidence while understanding their strengths and interests.
- Self-management: By learning how to regulate emotions, your child will be able to handle control impulses, manage stress, and stay motivated to overcome obstacles.
- Social awareness: Learning social awareness will help your child empathise with others while recognising that individuals and groups have similarities and differences.
How can we promote social & emotional regulation?
Your child experiences a lot of emotions every day. Social and emotional regulation involves teaching your child how to identify their feelings. When your child regulates their emotions, they can manage their emotions throughout the day. Different methods can teach your child how to control their feelings consciously.
Identifying different emotions
There are many ways you can teach your child about the different emotions they are feeling. Emotional posters help them identify and record emotions, while emotions cards describe their feelings. The Feelings Flip also illustrates different emotional states.
Once your child can identify their emotions, they’ll be able to:
- Be able to self-soothe and stay calm.
- Learn mindfulness techniques.
- Share and model their emotions.
- Think about feelings they may experience in advance.
Building emotional resilience
Your child will perceive, respond, and interact with emotions differently day-to-day. It is helpful to create time in the day (even for a few minutes) for your child to connect with their emotions. Checking in with your child’s emotions is as simple as the PASTA method:
- Pause and breathe.
- Ask how they feel.
- Say the emotions they feel out loud or write them down.
- Think about the feelings and sit with them.
- Ask them what they need.
- Reflecting and calming will help with this with products like centering cards and mindfulness activities.
Reading, storytelling & games
Reading, storytelling & games can play a significant role in helping your child learn social and emotional regulation. Books such as- “Sometimes I feel angry”, help children learn about emotions, their responses, and feelings to help them improve their emotional development.
Another helpful book for children to learn emotional regulation is “Sometimes I feel anxious”. This popular book helps your child recognise, understand, and acknowledge anxiety. Caring Cats teaches about social situations and caring, and empathy, whilst the Social Skills Board Game works on situational emotions.
Interactive toys, sometimes called social-emotional learning (SEL) toys, have become popular for children to learn social and emotional regulation. Easy to interact with, interactive toys help children explore social interaction and their emotions.
Our range of interactive toys for social and emotional regulation includes:
- The Feelings Friend: A soft doll with interchangeable facial expressions and illustrated cards. This doll helps your child express their feelings while recognising what others are feeling.
- Cubeez: An emotional expression game where players match the face on the Challenge Card by quickly turning, flipping, and positioning three cubes.
Organising playdates & activities
Organised play is an excellent way for your child to learn and develop social and emotional regulation skills. When playing with other children, your child needs to understand their emotions, accept others’ emotions, and sometimes let their feelings be released. Games like Parachute Play and Catchtail can involve teamwork, turn taking and success to celebrate.
Browse our range of social & emotional regulation tools today!
The advantages of your child learning social and emotional regulation include:
- Being able to sit still, pay attention, and listen
- Control impulses that can be socially inappropriate, like snatching a toy from a friend
- Learning how to take turns when sharing toys and playing games
- Reflecting on bad behavioural choices and deciding how to behave differently in the future
- Understanding how to manage their stress when they feel uncomfortable emotions
Browse our Social & Emotional Regulation Tools.